|19th century Indian thuggees, colonial India. en.wikipedia.org|
Thuggee Hindi: ṭhaggī; Odia: thaka; Kannada: thakka; Bengali: ṭhogī; Punjabi: ṭhagee ) - all these Indian words refer to Thugs who operated in northern states in the early colonial period and before. This term ''thug'' is popular in the northern parts of Indian subcontinent. Like modern day mafiosi of Palermo, Sicily or American Mafia, commonly called ''Thuggee'', was a well organised gang of professional robbers and killers. Their victims were mostly long distance travellers from one town to another. Their main livelihood was robbing of rich men and killing them. They would share the bounty after the dirty work. Most of them were operating close to the main caravan routes. These highwaymen never worked alone as thieves, but rather as a highly organised network of criminals, who managed to evade police and village security for decades. Thanks to their secretive and highly effective modus operandi.
|Indian thug. navrangindia.blogspot.com|
|William Henry Sleeman,en. wikipedia. org|
Above image : William Henry Sleeman, superintendent of the Thuggee and Dacoity Department, 1835. He developed elaborate detective methods to catch the thugs. It was a painstaking work and successfully put an end to the menace; leader Behram became crown's (prosecution) witness in return for less punishment....................................
|Notorious serial killer Behram more than 900 victims weirdlyodd.com|
How come they remained uncaught ? How did they manage to evade justice for centuries? They never used the mafiosi method of operation ''Omerta'' (code of silence). Thanks to their strict adherence to secretive and highly effective Modus Operandi. Because they would engage in criminal activity collectively with full coordination, using code language or signs they were not caught by the public or police.
Their modus operandi is simple and won't raise any suspicion. The Thuggee would befriend travellers on long journeys and join them for portions of their journey. Feigning to be friendly, amiable and helpful, they will earn their chosen victim’s trust. On occasions, they would travel log distance and when the right spot is chosen, they will take the victim into the secluded wooded area with one man guarding the area for any intrusion, while the others will strangle the victim in a flash, not allowing him to shout or mumble. A nice and clean job, no fuss and no fumble. After removing the valuables - jewels, etc, victim will be buried in a suitable place far removed as if the ground is not disturbed. Some time they will throw the body in an abandoned well. Mostly killing will be done close to the caravan route so that they can individually get back to the group of travellers without raising any suspicion. Perfect time and right coordination will help them make this heinous crime free from evidences.
Their hallmark is they never left any traces or evidences of their criminal acts, No killing by sharp instruments.no traces of blood. Using sharp instrument would cause pain and blood shed and a wrong move meant disaster for the gang. The shouting or yelling by victims would get the attention of co-travellers. So, to avoid such risk to life they would execute the targeted victim only by strangulation, using a long scarf.
01. The English language word thug traces its roots to the Hindi (thug), which means 'swindler' or 'deceiver'.
02. With limited police force then, the thuggee were seen as a blemish on the colonial rule rule.
03. The British ‘ran into Phansigars and thugs almost simultaneously, in 1807 and 1809 respectively.